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Reflecting History is an educational history podcast that explores significant historical events and themes without losing track of the ordinary people involved. Covering a wide variety of topics, it is a narrative driven podcast that delves into the connection between history, psychology, and philosophy on a personal level.
 
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History's Most

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History's Most

Alexander Clifford and Peter Daisley

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History's Most is a podcast that delves into interesting, under-reported and controversial topics in history and applies superlatives to them. We deep dive headfirst into a variety of topics, from history's most guilty man, to the most disasterous voyage, to complicated wars and confusing politicians.
 
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How did ordinary people make sense of a devastating and apocalyptic event like the Taiping Civil War? To what extent did the logic of divine reward and punishment play a role in the ordinary lives of people impacted by this conflict? How did people combat the horrors of war psychologically? This episode is part one in a series covering Tobie Meyer-…
 
The Taiping Civil War was an apocalyptic event for those who lived through it. For most ordinary civilians, the realties on the ground involved violence, looting, hypocrisy, and danger at all times. The chaos, death, and atrocities would force those who survived to face complicated questions of grief and loss. This is the fifth episode in a series …
 
The Taiping Civil War is often seen as a product of clashing belief systems and a testament to the power of belief. This episode provides some analysis for how the belief systems of the 3 major players in the conflict interacted and converged: the Taiping version of Christianity, the Qing appeal to Confucian tradition, and the western imperial civi…
 
How did Hong Xiuquan transform from ordinary school teacher into the leader of the largest rebellion in modern history and the younger brother of Jesus? What started out as one man's fever dream would slowly reveal itself to be a nightmare in reality for millions of people in China. This is the third episode in a series on the Taiping Civil War or …
 
The “Great Man” style of history is often scoffed on, but does it have a part to play in the story of the Taiping Civil War? Which plays a bigger role in history-individual choices and decisions made by powerful individuals, or the larger contextual trends acting on those individuals? Ultimately a mix of these two styles of history may help us unde…
 
From 1850-1864, China was swallowed by a wave of chaos and destruction that was bizarre, unprecedented, and apocalyptic. Some historians estimate that the Taiping Civil War left more than 20 million dead in it's wake. The tale is often told as the strange story of the Taiping leader Hong Xiuquan, who claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus and e…
 
In this episode, I sat down with Vietnam War veteran and now best selling author William V. Taylor to talk about his memoir “On Full Automatic: Surviving 13 Months In Vietnam.” During the discussion we talked about his enlistment and training process, the types and nature of combat during his time there, the role of the environment and how factors …
 
In this episode I sat down with historian Susan Carruthers to discuss her new book "Dear John: Love and Loyalty in Wartime America." We discuss the history of the Dear John letter in times of war, how relationships and emotional life are stressed during times of war, social norms and gender roles in regards to letter writing in times of war, the sw…
 
What is freedom? Is it possible to truly make free decisions? How does this relate to the political concept of tyranny? In a world where freedom is often seen as one of the highest ethical priorities, it's worth taking a closer look at what freedom really is. Questions about freedom have been pondered since the beginnings of humanity, including the…
 
"There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen." Vladimir Lenin's famous words beg the question: are some moments in history more significant than others? Are there "crossroads" time periods in history where a given path can branch into multiple different pathways? What are some examples of these crossroads momen…
 
Is it possible to ever be truly happy? What if your happiness rests on a backbone of degradation and exploitation? Is it right to sacrifice the few for the many? What should be done about injustice in the world? All of these questions and more are contemplated in Ursula Le Guin's amazing short story "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas." Read the st…
 
In the first episode of 2022, we discuss some of the topics seen in Alex's new book Hindenburg, Ludendorff & Hitler, including Erich Ludendorff's post-war writings and memoirs, which allow for a glimpse into his mental state following the harrowing defeat of World War I. As well, we examine Paul von Hindenburg's close relationship with Hitler and t…
 
From universities down to the Hitler Youth, the education system in 1930's Germany was co-opted by Nazi ideology. In what ways did the endorsement of Nazi ideals by prominent thinkers and intellectuals impact popular opinion? In what ways did the education system change to align itself with Nazi beliefs? How did this impact ordinary people? Try the…
 
For as long as there has been history, there has been a struggle to interpret and analyze that history. Different perspectives, ideologies, and approaches permeate the study of the past. So which interpretation of history is the correct one? Could we all come to a consensus? What if we had a time machine that allowed us to all go back to the same m…
 
We're back! In this episode, we are joined by Alex's brother Freddy to have a discussion about the history of some of the most isolated, sparsely populated, and unique places on the planet. From the world's most remote island in the South Atlantic, to an island in the South Pacific inhabited by direct descendants of the Mutiny on the Bounty, to a b…
 
Can something be valuable, good, or useful if it isn't real? Depending on your answer to that and your definition of real, fantasy and science fiction may not qualify. But in this episode I argue for the positive benefits of reading and watching fantasy, why it's inherently valuable, how it helps the study of history, and how it can be useful in th…
 
Hey everybody, here is a bonus episode I released a few months ago on my Patreon feed. Hope you enjoy and have a great Thanksgiving. The recent discovery of "Dragon Man" and it's potential relationship to early humanity has created some level of controversy in history and archaeology circles. What does this new discovery tell us about the "process"…
 
Is there a conflict between a zoomed-out historical approach that is focused on facts, events, and dates, versus a more bottom up approach that is focused on ordinary people and their experience of those facts, events, and dates? More recent popular histories and storytellers have focused on the human element (myself included) to bring more emotion…
 
Well, I never thought I would make it to 100 episodes. But here we are. A sincere thank you to everyone reading this right now and to everyone who has ever taken the time to listen to this podcast. In this episode I do a deep dive into the movie "Cast Away" starring Tom Hanks from the year 2000. In my view, this movie stands the test of time and is…
 
"Don't reach for the stars, reach for the flowers." One of the appealing aspects of humanistic psychology is it's embrace of the ordinary and it's emphasis on the fundamental goodness of human beings. Is it true that human nature is fundamentally good as humanists like Abraham Maslow say? Or is there too much evidence of greed and malevolence from …
 
In popular culture, there is often a morbid fascination with the psychology of evil, but what about the psychology of good? Social Psychology may get most of the headlines, but Humanistic Psychology could have just as much to say about human behavior. In his book "Transcend," psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman investigates humanistic psychology from …
 
In a massive and seemingly uncaring universe, fatalism and the resignation of inevitability is one way to look at the world. The philosophical concept of Mono No Aware and Ken Liu's powerful short story "Mono No Aware" offer an alternative point of view through concepts of inherent beauty, the transient nature of life and death, and the recognition…
 
In this episode, we are joined by author, historian, and archaeologist, Dr. Matthew McCarty, for a discussion about one of the most enigmatic religions ever: Mithraism. A religion in stark contrast to the other contemporaries, Mithraism was often practiced in small, dark temples as opposed wide open spaces, and generally, each temple had a relative…
 
In this episode I sat down with historian Karen Cook Bell to talk about her book Running from Bondage: Enslaved Women and Their Remarkable Fight for Freedom in Revolutionary America. We discussed life as a female slave in the Revolutionary period, forms of overt and covert resistance to slavery, the sexual exploitation and abuse of slave women, wha…
 
In this episode, we are joined by historian, professor, and author of the book France in the Second World War, Chris Millington. With him, we take a deep, reevaluating look at the 1940 fall of France, questioning the popular narrative of French cowardice, lack of preparation, and inferior military capability as being the reasons for their defeat. F…
 
Hi everyone! We're starting a new video series over on our YouTube channel about Britain's 1931 crisis called The Crisis. In it, we'll be looking at the key figures involved, the decisions they made, and the events as they happened, week by week, and sometimes day by day. And don't worry: this Podcast will be continuing alongside the video series! …
 
In this episode, we continue our in-depth discussion with Stuart Ball on Britain in the 1930s, particularly focusing on the actions of the National Government, which we discussed the formation of in the last episode. From the economic and social reforms they passed, to their rearmament programs, to the outbreak of war, and much more, we take a look…
 
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